This is what I was told while I was bathing Thomas (4) last night. We were in that delicate stage where you’ve both had a long day, tired, hot and you’re just about able to do the friendly and civil “Please lift your arm/ lift your leg, open your legs, bend your neck forward/backward” that goes with bathing a toddler.
Big Tom: Mama, you are a hard mama.
Me: What do you mean? Why am I hard? Where am I hard?
Big Tom: You are hard like dots. (Here he was referring to the join the dots exercises he struggles with.)
Me: You mean difficult?
Big Tom: Yes. You’re difficult.
Me: Okay Thomas, I’m sorry you think so but I don’t think I am.
Big Tom: Yes you are.
Cue gasps of horror from me as I run to the lounge and try to tell DH what just happened in our bathroom.
Once bath time was over and bedtime stories had been read and peace once again reigned, I was able to reflect about this conversation.
Thomas is an only child. A well-behaved one at that (naturally). Well when he is alone and when he is with other well-behaved kids.
Enter the two boy cousins he has. They’re boys. They’re older and are always up to mischief. Thomas adores them because he longs for a sibling. When he is with them, he copies their every move. Much to my dismay.
I reprimand him. They don’t get reprimanded. They get away with being unruly and having no manners. Thomas doesn’t.
We spent this past weekend with one of them. Lots of reprimanding happened (only from me and mostly aimed at Thomas (because I have no right to reprimand someone else’s kid, right?). Not fair on us. Not fair on Thomas.
Short of never going to or with these cousins, there’s not much I can do. Limit contact with them? Adopt a big brother (with good manners) for Thomas?
PS: The rookie parent in me wanted to of course tackle the parents but even a rookie knows when she’s outnumbered.
PPS: If there are any veteran parents out there who knows the right way to tackle this, please to let me know.